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J Vet Pharmacol Ther. 2004 Dec;27(6):427-39.

Plasma terminal half-life.

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UMR 181 Physiopathologie et Toxicologie Expérimentales INRA/ENVT, Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire de Toulouse, Toulouse cedex 03, France.


Terminal plasma half-life is the time required to divide the plasma concentration by two after reaching pseudo-equilibrium, and not the time required to eliminate half the administered dose. When the process of absorption is not a limiting factor, half-life is a hybrid parameter controlled by plasma clearance and extent of distribution. In contrast, when the process of absorption is a limiting factor, the terminal half-life reflects rate and extent of absorption and not the elimination process (flip-flop pharmacokinetics). The terminal half-life is especially relevant to multiple dosing regimens, because it controls the degree of drug accumulation, concentration fluctuations and the time taken to reach equilibrium.

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